The Crawfordsville City Council members got their first look at plans to improve the parking lot at the Montgomery County Courthouse Monday night.

Phil Bane, president of the County Commissioners, presented aritst's renderings of how the parking lot would look with small trees in planting beds and benches plus parking for 50 cars.

The main purpose for the renovation, as we reported last month, will be improvements to security at the courthouse.

Bane said the plan includes moving some rear entrances in the courthouse to the West.

Another reason for the proposed changes is to accommodate an Indiana Department of Transportation plan to build a right turn lane from Washington to Market Street which will require moving the sidewalk and taking out "a significant portion" of the parking lot, Bane said. INDOT has indicated construction for the right turn lane is planned to begin this summer, Bane said. He presented a preliminary drawing from INDOT Technical Services department.

"This will provide a real enhancement to the City if we can gather funds to do something special," Bane said.

"It will be much more attractive when they get it fixed up," said Mayor Todd Barton. "I appreciate what they are doing."

One person who doesn't appreciate the plan is Monty Harris, who owns the building next to the courthouse with his partner, Stu Weliever.

Harris expressed concern that closing Federal Street, a north-south city alley that runs through courthouse property, will not allow large trucks used for garbage collection and delivery to have access to the attorney's building.

"I use that alley every day," Harris said.

Bane expressed optimism that those details can be worked out.

The ordinance vacating the alley that is listed as Federal Street will be forwarded to the whole City Council without a recommendation by the Traffic, Parking and Safety Committee.